Flying in Mexico is incredibly easy, unless it is incredibly hard. You need to either have a good handler or have recent experience in the particular airport you are visiting. I say recent because things change and what was once a nice, secure airport can become a nightmare.
What follows are an article from ProPilot, notes from the Jeppesen State pages, a video or two, and some notes from Toluca. One of the articles talks about the flexibility of local officials. That flexibility is often as a result of a few twenty dollar bills and a smile. Having a local handler in the game makes this much easier.
Photo: Eddie gets towed to the FBO following customs at Toluca, from Eddie's collection.
[ProPilot, 26 Jul 2013] The good news is that Mexico remains one of the world's easiest and most forgiving international operating environments. "It's not difficult to navigate the system in Mexico as long as you've done some basic preparation in advance," says Universal Weather & Aviation Master Trip Support Specialist Alberto Gonzales. He adds, "The Mexican operating environment is welcoming and it's almost as easy as a trip to Canada." Operating flexibility in Mexico is particularly good confirms Jeppesen Intl Trip Support Global Handler Relations Mgr Matt York. "Once you've landed, and have your permit, everything is very flexible. You can change schedules and blast off pretty well any time you want to. There are no big surprises or hassles and, as long as you have the right documentation, things go smoothly. Handlers and local officials are easy to deal with and services are generally very good." If you arrive in Mexico without landing permission this can be arranged on the ground. Likewise, Mexican insurance can also be set up on arrival-for a price-should you forget to secure a policy in advance. Even if a crewmember or passenger forgets to bring a passport this is not the end of the world. "We had a case recently of an inbound flight to Mexico where one passenger was missing a passport," recalls York. "The operator faxed a copy of the passport to the local handler and this worked out well." Any small issues you may run into on the ground can often be smoothed over with your handler and local officials who are usually amenable to creative solutions.
[ProPilot, 26 Jul 2013] All foreign private and charter aircraft must have authorization and landing permission when operating to Mexican territory. This may be obtained by an authorization for either sole entrance or multiple entrances. Single-entry authorization may be arranged beforehand-officially with 5 working days-or via Form GHC001 filled out on arrival. A single-entry permit is in effect for 6 months and expires immediately when the aircraft leaves Mexican territory. Multiple entrance permits, issued by the Direction of Transport and Aeronautical Control, require 10-15 working days from date of application and are in effect for one year beginning Jan 1. Applications require certificates of airworthiness, aircraft registration, flight personnel licenses and medicals (as well as ATP license for the captain) and Mexican insurance, which must include coverage for the whole Mexican territory with an insured sum, for public liability third party damages, equivalent to 56,900 days of minimum wage in force in Mexico City-currently about 3 million pesos. Part 135 single entry landing authorizations are not a much more rigorous proposition than for Part 91. However, multiple entry permits can be somewhat more difficult to set up and maintain. Multiple entry permits require operations to file monthly reports on activity to Mexico even if there are no flights that month. Cabotage restrictions for Part 135 operators are in force and are taken seriously.
[ProPilot, 26 Jul 2013] You'll require landing permission when operating to Mexico, along with special Mexican insurance, and local handlers are mandatory at many airfields.
[ProPilot, 26 Jul 2013] Cabotage rules are taken seriously in Mexico, particularly for charter and Part 135 operators. Part 135 operators may not fly passengers internally within Mexico even if they've brought the passengers into the country. To get around this, say ISPs, some operators operate to and from Mexico as Part 135 and fly domestic legs in country as Part 91. Cabotage rules are much less rigorous for private Part 91 operations says Universal Weather & Aviation Quality Control Mgr Rubin Perez. "Private operators may fly domestically within Mexico with a Mexican national on board if they carry a letter stating that the passenger is an employee or otherwise associated with your business."
["Dealing With the New Rules of Worldwide Documentation," Professional Pilot, July 2013] For operations within Mexico it's very important to carry a letter stating the passenger's relationship with the company. This letter should be sent to your local ground handler in advance for every trip.
[ProPilot, 26 Jul 2013] Parking is generally first come first served and cannot normally be confirmed in advance. "There's always a lingering possibility, when you arrive, that you may not have overnight parking," says Air Routing Intl Ops Supervisor Matt Pahl. "Although this rarely happens you may be faced with repositioning. If parking at SJD is full, for example, you may need to move your aircraft to LAP (La Paz)."
[Jeppesen State Pages - Entry Requirements] PASSPORT: Required, except for U.S. and Canadian citizens who can enter Mexico with an Original Birth Certificate and a picture ID. Passengers that do not disembark do not require a passport if arriving and departing on the same through flight. Passengers transferring to another flight, either national or international, will be asked to show immigration documents. Airline crewmembers in regularly scheduled service need only their license or crew certificate when remaining within the city limits of the arrival location and depart on a regularly schedule flight.
[ProPilot, 26 Jul 2013] Customs and immigration procedures vary from airport to airport, and operating hours at many fields are limited with 7:00-8:00 pm closings not uncommon. Customs and immigration clearances may be accomplished on board in some cases but it's more common to clear in the GA facility or main terminal. Procedure at TLC, on arrival, is to park at the customs ramp to clear customs and immigration prior to taxiing to your FBO. On departure your agent will take your passports to be processed but there's no customs interview involved. "Customs will almost always do headcounts," adds Pahl. "Officials are mindful of human trafficking and prefer to compare passports with passengers. If the numbers do not add up there will be questions asked." When flying to Mexico send all information-crew and passenger passport details, crew licenses, medicals and ATP for the captain-in advance. At most Mexican airports you'll either go through VIP customs/immigration clearance at the GA terminal or customs at the main terminal with the assistance of your local handling agent. Customs and immigration procedures in Mexico are generally fast, easy and not onerous adds Jeppesen Intl Trip Planning Supervisor Al Simpson.
The rules are unclear for non-airline operations but the following are normally required:
It will be to your advantage to have multiple copies of each, otherwise the official will have to take your originals to make copies.
It has long been said that original Mexican insurance paperwork is required, but our handlers have said, and we found this to be true, color copies will suffice.
[ProPilot, 26 Jul 2013] Security in Mexico has become an issue of increased concern to corporate aviation operators over recent years. Extra caution is suggested at night on the drive from TLC into Mexico City and when operating to border airfields including CJS (Ciudad Juárez) and TIJ (Tijuana). Security precautions are advised when operating to the Mexico City area and destinations along the US border say international support providers (ISPs). Gonzales recommends putting a guard on your aircraft at TLC and arranging secure transport for passengers and crew from TLC into Mexico City. York suggests flight crews take such commonsense precautions as removing uniforms prior to departing the airport, staying at hotels in TLC rather than Mexico City and not flagging down public taxis willy-nilly to get back to the aircraft to retrieve that pair of sunglasses left on the glare shield. "Arranging private transport is a safer option than raising your arm, exposing a gold Rolex and flagging down a taxi in Mexico City," advises York. At TLC and many other airports in Mexico where it's still possible to bring private vehicles planeside, consider pulling up your armored transport alongside the company plane in preparation for that night-time passenger transfer to Mexico City. Caution is suggested when operating to, or planning an overnight at, airports along the northern border. "At northern Mexican destinations, including TIJ, we recommend arranging secure transport due to risks associated with local drug trade activity," adds Perez.
[ProPilot, 26 Jul 2013] Effective Feb 1, 2008, all GA aircraft operating into Mexico from the Caribbean and Central and South America have been required to stop at CZM (Cozumel) or TAP (Tapachula) for illegal substance inspection. Countries considered as within the Caribbean zone include Bermuda, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. "Mexico has issued a permanent Notam on these requirements and they're extremely diligent in enforcing it," says Pahl. He adds, "There's no provision for a border overflight exception (BOE), as there is in the US, and this ruling applies to everyone with the exception of Mexican government and military flights. We had an operator recently fly from SJU (Luis Muñoz Marín, San Juan, Puerto Rico) to TLC and they had to stop at CZM with more than an hour delay on the ground." This new policy-an agreement between US and Mexican governments-went into effect abruptly, with no grace period, but the process has streamlined somewhat, observes York. "Initially this was quite an ordeal and caused delays of up to 2 hours-with all baggage offloaded and inspected out on the ramp-plus the inconvenience of making an additional stop.
[Jeppesen State Rules and Procedures - Mexico] In general, the air traffic rules and procedures in force and the organization of air traffic services are in conformity with ICAO standards.
[http://ww1.jeppesen.com/company/publications/wgs-84.jsp] Mexico is WGS-84 compliant, you can fly the available RNAV(GNSS) approaches.
The elevation at Toluca is 8466 and it is surrounded by mountains in the twelve to seventeen thousand feet range. The airport itself is in a fairly wide open bowl and climb performance problems can be mitigated by the judicious use of holding patterns.
Note: If you are going to use APG-derived gross weights make sure you understand Departure Obstacle Avoidance and what it does to your altitude in the event of an engine failure.
Note: We have found our aircraft's power to weight allows us to climb out at 200 KCAS until 16,000 feet to easily meet all climb requirements with a comfortable deck angle. Our plan is to hold V2 + 10 in the event of an engine failure prior to that speed, accelerate to 200 KCAS with two engines and hold that until 16,000 feet and then accelerate to our normal climb schedule from there. Your aircraft may do better or worse, but you need to consider it because the minimum climb altitudes can be difficult to obtain at normal, all-engine speeds.
Hello (informal). Hola (OH-lah)
How are you? (informal). ¿Como estas? (KOH-MOH ehss-TAHSS?)
How are you? (formal). ¿Como esta usted? (KOH-MOH ehss-TAHSS oo-stehd?)
Fine, thank you. Muy bien, gracias. (mooey BYEHN, GRAH-syahss)
What is your name? ¿Como te llamas? (KOH-moh tay YAH-mahss?)
My name is _____. Me llamo ____. (may YAH-moh ____)
Nice to meet you. Encantado. (EHN-kahn-TAH-doh.)
Please. Por favor. (POHR fah-BOHR.)
Thank you. Gracias. (GRAH-SYAHSS.)
You’re welcome. De nada, (day NAH-dah.)
Yes. Si. (SEE.)
No. No. (NOH.)
Excuse me. (Getting attention) Disculpe. (dees-KOOL-pay)
Excuse me. (Begging pardon) Perdon. (pair-DOHN)
I’m sorry. Lo siento. (loh SYEHN-toh)
Goodbye. Adios. (ah-DYOHSS.)
I can’t sepak Spanish. No hablo espanol. (noh AH-blow EHS-pahn-YOL.)
Do you speak English? ¿Hablas ingles? (AH-blahss een-GLAYSS?)
Good morning. Buenos dias. (BWAY-nohss DEE-ahss.)
Good afternoon. Buenas tardes. (BWAY-nahss TAR-dayss.)
Good evening. Buenas noches. (BWAY-nahss NOH-chayss.)
I don’t understand. No entiendo. (noh ehn-TYEHN-doh.)
Where is the toilet? ¿Donde esta el bano? (DOHN-day ehss-TAH ehl BAHN-yoh?)
A table for two, please. Una mesa para dos personas, por favor. (OO-nah MAY-sah pah-rah dohss pehr-SOH-nahs pohr fah- BOHR)
The check, please. La cuenta, por favor.
A glass of red/white wine. Un vaso de vino tinto/blanco.
A bottle. Una botella.
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